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Royal Opera House issues statement after audience member heckles 12-year-old performer

The episode took place last night

Royal Opera House
© Luke Hayes

The Royal Opera House has issued a statement following an event last night at its opening performance of Alcina.

According to social media reports, a man in the audience shouted negative remarks and booed during 12 year-old Malakai M Bayoh's solo turn as Oberto.

The audience member was then, according to an eye-witness on Twitter: "drowned out with extra-loud, heartfelt applause" by the rest of the crowd. Another said they had "never clapped and cheered so loudly in my life when he [Bayoh] finished singing."

According to the Royal Opera House, "steps have been taken" to make sure the audience member will not be able to return to the Covent Garden venue in the future.

Bayoh is no stranger to the Opera House stage, having appeared in the venue's production of The Magic Flute.

A spokesperson for the ROH explained: "We would like to congratulate Malakai M Bayoh for his stellar performance as Oberto in our first night of Alcina. Malakai is astonishingly talented – bringing great acting and beautiful singing to the role - a huge accomplishment for such a young singer.

"Unfortunately, the opening night of Alcina featured an audience member who disrupted the show and Malakai's excellent performance. We are appalled that a member of the audience behaved in this way and our support is with Malakai and the cast and creative team of Alcina. Steps have been taken to ensure the audience member in question does not return to the Royal Opera House."

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